Wednesday, July 27, 2016

PLANT NANNY REVIEW

I was recently introduced to a product called the "Plant Nanny".  
Their website is HERE.  They sent me a set to try out.  As we aren't at the farm during the week, we do have the need for something to water in our absence.

Plant Nanny - Recycle a Wine Bottle
 Upon opening the package, I was struck by their simple beauty.  There is something elegant about them, and the design is functional.  They are made of terra-cotta, like clay pots, which helps their function.  Also, you're not sticking plastic into the soil so that's always a good thing.  And, short of dropping on a hard surface, they are definitely durable for long term use over several seasons.


FROM THEIR WEBSITE:

Recycling wine bottles to water your plants is easy with our Recycle a Wine Bottle Stake. It’s a great way to water plants day-to-day, and the perfect solution to keep plants watered while on vacation. As the soil dries, our terracotta stake slowly releases water from the reservoir deep into the soil and directly to the root system. Plants grow healthier by getting consistent moisture where it’s most needed.

Pre-moisten the soil and gently insert the terracotta stake near the center of the plant. The carefully-designed shape of the stake allows it to be inserted into the soil without damaging the plant’s root system. Fill a wine bottle with water and set it neck-first into the stake and the watering process will begin. Know at a glance when to refill the wine bottle by observing the amount of water remaining in the glass bottle reservoir.

•  Uses a recycled wine bottle as a water reservoir (not included)
•  Stake is approximately 7” high
• Use for medium to large sized plants, indoors and out
• Uses a recycled wine bottle as a water reservoir (not included)
• 750ml standard wine bottle will water for approximately 7-10 days depending on growing environment (humidity level, temperature etc)


They arrived very well packaged...a box inside of a box, some bubble wrap, and well contained next to each other.  This was the set of four.


Next I had to gather up some wine bottles.  

Since we don't drink more than one bottle a week (if that), I was lucky to be able to go downstairs to the trash area and find all the wine bottles I needed in the recycle bin.  Score!


The above graphic shows how they work...


For step by step picture purposes, I used this rosemary plant in a container on our porch.  I put the terracotta spike into the soil as described...

Plant Nanny Wine Bottle Waterer
...and filled the bottle up with water and then tipped it into the spike.  I left it alone and hoped for the best.


Here it is one week later.  Only about half the water used, the plant was still looking good with one week and no water by any method other than this.

Plant Nanny
I put the others in three different potted plants, like this bay laurel tree on the porch and they all went a week with no water and look just fine.  I think we may have finally found a great solution, certainly for the plants on the porch.  I will keep everyone updated throughout the Summer but so far, we are VERY impressed with this product.

They also make this (might have to try this in a test clay pot by the barn):


A great company looking to make some great solutions for watering which is most often the hardest part of keeping plants healthy...and they are letting us recycle bottles at the same time.  Check them out, we think they are definitely worthy of using.  Below is their website:


They don't sell them directly from the website but they are sold at many places, including of course, HERE AT AMAZON as singles.  But if you click on the singles and look at the "customers also buy" feature, you'll see the set of four.  

Also, stayed tuned Friday, for a special announcement connected to this review.


So far, so good...we are giving them 5 stars because they are working exactly how they are advertised!


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

CUT BASIL TURNING BLACK

Harvested a bunch of basil, it's growing like a weed!  Beautiful green plants, beautiful large leaves...but I wrapped it in damp paper towel, brought it back into down, put it in the fridge and...

Cut basil turning brown/black
...the next day it was all black and brown?  I am guessing this is like oxidation that happens with avocados but not sure now to prevent it?  We thought keeping them in water or wet would prevent it.  But when we have purchased fresh basil at the store, it's cut up and packaged and just as bright green as the day it was picked.  I was thinking of quick blanching it next time I harvest?

Any suggestions?


Monday, July 25, 2016

HOT AND NOT EVEN AUGUST

Yep, it was hot Saturday...


 Our first day of the season with 100 (or higher) official temperature...When I got ready to leave, the outside temp was 103 degrees.  At 4pm.


Even the curious cows stayed in the shade, probably wondering why I was dumb enough to be out in the sun...


There was mowing, which even though I normally enjoy, it can be just a bit hot to do at this time of year.  I got it all mowed and it looks nice again.  With rain in the forecast this week, it might be perfect timing.  There was a downside though, the battery seems to be acting up.  Not sure if it's the heat or what.  It started before I took it out of the shed (I always start it up first to make sure).  I stopped it, rolled it out, let it sit there for a bit while I filled it up with gas and then it wouldn't start.  I pushed it back in, messed around with it a bit, let it sit while "I" took a break in the shade and it started up.  I rolled it out again, mowed and turned it off twice more to take breaks. The last time though, it wouldn't start at all.  After it had sat in the sun for about 30 minutes.  I brought the battery back into town and will test it.  

Ugh, I hate these kinds of problems...


2nd Family's dogs, "Blue" (on the left) and newest member "Ruben" (on the right) came to visit and were seemingly oblivious to the heat.  They ran and played...in between drinks of water of course (we keep a large bowl of water for them when we are there since they come up to visit).


We kept dinner simple for a change.  Our own version of tostadas.  Tostadas covered with refried beans, a fried egg, topped with cheese and baked in the oven until the cheese melts and then topped with avocado.  And salsa when the mood strikes.  Quiet weekend...hot weekend...it was a good time to do stuff inside where it's cooler.

And it's not even August yet...


Sunday, July 24, 2016

HAY BALING SEASON

I don't know why, but I've always found this interesting.  It's hay baling season around the farm...and we just love to see the fields around us filled with these...


They almost seem to be like some sort of communication attempt...


Like "morse code" in a field that can only be seen from the air...


The machine that does it is fascinating too...


The are all lined up and ready to be scattered around the pasture...


The fields around us are full of them...



Ready for some hungry livestock!


Saturday, July 23, 2016

OFF TO THE FARM

It's a hot day, very hot.  This is the time of year when we really just don't do much at the farm, at least outside. 


I'll mow, if I need to.  I need to check the garden for veggies and herbs.  I'm guessing there won't be much more to the veggies, at least the ones that don't like the brutal heat.  I like to turn on the a/c and do some inside projects...


...or at least, some projects (or resting) in the shade, ha.  This is the view under the tree we named Barnabas.

Hope you have a great start to the weekend!  
Updates later!


Friday, July 22, 2016

BLT SANDWICHES WITH GARDEN FRESH TOMATOES

We sliced up some of those tomatoes from the garden...


Fried up some bacon...


Sliced up some lettuce...

BLT
Put it all on toasted bread and had the best BLT's ever.  One of our most favorite sandwiches...made ten times better with the wonderful tomatoes fresh from our garden.

TGIF!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A GIFT OF CANDIED JALAPENOS

Oh my, we are in love with these.  A very sweet lady who is a fan of the blog, and has her own farm (much farther along than us) sent this to us recently.  

It's a jar of homemade Candied Jalapeños.  

Candied Jalapeños
I've had some before but they were way too hot.  
These were just perfect!


Sweet, spicy, pickle-y (sometimes you have to make up the right word, ha) and just the right amount of heat.  We love that she used green AND red jalapeños, it makes for a vibrant display in the jar and on the plate.  

Speaking of plate...  

Candied Jalapeños with cream cheese and crackers
...there is nothing like having them served on top of cream cheese with some crackers (in this case, Triscuits).  OH. MY. GOSH.  They were so good.  

Anyone have any good recipes? 
 Can they be canned in a water bath and put up?


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

TOMATO HORNWORMS OH MY

Noticed that a few leaves were stripped on one of the tomato plants and some fruit had parts eaten off.  I immediately started looking for critters...

Green Hornworm Caterpillar 
...and sure enough, I found one...

Tomato Hornworm
...and then two!   That was all though, I checked the plants thoroughly.  Ugh, I hate these things.  Masters of disguise and they are so creepy looking.  They can destroy a tomato plant.  I picked them off and "dispatched" them.  

They didn't do much damage from last weekend to this so I think I'm OK until next weekend.  I also saw a few red and black spidery looking bugs.  I had some spray on soap mix that I used on both plants and that seemed to take care of them, but I'll have to do some more research.

Anyone have any suggestions? 

Monday, July 18, 2016

WEEKEND HARVEST

Saturday was the day at the farm (we had family commitments Sunday). 
It was too hot to do much of anything but I could pick veggies!


Tomato plants were pretty full...


The herbs are growing by leaps and bounds...

Eggplant in raised bed
And what is this?  
Why it's an eggplant!  Almost ready, still a bit small...
The other plant in the same bed is a bit smaller and no blooms but hoping that changes soon.

Okra in raised bed
Here is the okra.  It's getting large.  The other plant in the bed is catching up too.  And of course, there are our perennial chives, ha!

Basket of Tomatoes and Jalapeños 
BEHOLD!  
This weeks haul of tomatoes and jalapeños!  We're going to have to have some meals where we can use fresh, yummy tomatoes.  I'm suggesting burgers later this week.  We'll see what happens!  

We're very happy with the garden this season, small though it may be.  The whole point of this season was to see if we could make it work.  We got a late start because of the rainy Spring but things are finally producing.  This gives us a hope for not only next year (when we can plant earlier since everything is set up and ready) but also for a Fall garden.  Might need to start planning that, take our mind off the hot weather.  

Off to eat some tomatoes!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

BREAKFAST GOODNESS

Sometimes...


simple...

Sausage links and homemade buttered biscuits
is best...